A Year Without Posts, Now What?


What do you do when things get busy and your creative energies are being focused elsewhere? You cut back on things that aren’t as important or as interesting. I cut back on my online reading and playing with new start-ups – and, well here we are 1 year to the day and no posts. Maybe you are in the same boat as me? You like having a site and like that you’ve written some things that people still find useful, and have a few things you’d still like to write about?

What can you do to breathe a little life back into your site?

  • Set the bar LOW: Once a month is a crappy goal when you were cranking out 5 posts a week, but better than once a year!
  • Set a specific day: Put it on your calender, think about your post during your commute, type some notes on your break at work, have lunch at somewhere with wi-fi and crank out that post.
  • Get a buddy: Know someone else that is still posting away or even that isn’t and wants to get back to it? Have lunch with them and talk about posting or even write together
  • Reward yourself: Pick something small as a reward for yourself when you finish a post

I’m sure that there are a number of other things that people have done to get the ball rolling again and if anyone is still out there that has succeeded I’d love to hear about it.

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Perspective On Human Spamming

Just be patient about the fact that, be patien...
Image by Meredith_Farmer via Flickr

Are you getting human spam on your blog?  I am.

If you are running Disqus right now and have some pages with page rank there is a good chance that you are getting hit with human spam from site owners trying to accomplish some bargain basement SEO requiring the bare minimum of work.  This isn’t limited to Disqus, but since Disqus continues to leave NOFOLLOW off of the link to the user’s website in their username they have become a specific target.

It’s pretty trivial to mark these guys as spam and the worst of them are easy to recognize because they’ll move from page to page leaving the same worthless comment, but there are a few that have an interesting perspective on what they are doing and it’s worth thinking about before you start blowing away all the comments that they leave.

In comments left on my blog and on a thread I started about this problem on Disqus’s forums I’ve seen an attitude of entitlement from the Spammers that put the smallest amount of effort to customize their spam comment to the content of the page.  Their logic (?) is that comments add value to a site and by leaving a comment that is somewhat on target they “earn” the link and the SEO value that it instills.

There is some truth to this perspective, comments mean a lot to a blogger.  They add new content to a page and keep it active and updating something that Google likes to see, they can also provide new search terms and enhance the keyword usage on the page, helping it rise in the search results.

What human spammer’s fail to take into account, and where their perspective diviates so far from that of mine, is that comments are encouragement and validation of a bloggers work.  That engagment is worth more than all the SEO benefit a spammer can offer me and why I take such offense at their half hearted attempts and sense of entitlement and why so few of their comments will be allowed to stand here.

That’s my perspective – what’s yours?

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Testing the new Triggit Sitebar

Image representing Triggit as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Before the end of last year I had started playing with a cool new piece of technology called Triggit that made adding advertising and affiliate links easy to do without spamming them all over the place. As my blogging decreased towards the end of the year, I was mainly focused on quick pieces and didn’t touch Triggit.

You may have noticed the blue search bar at the top of my site (if it’s loaded yet, I need to track down what’s been slowing my load times lately) That is called the Sitebar and Triggit has switched gears and is focusing on this new tool. What does it do? Well, right now it only searches but I’ve boon told to expect more functionality soon, I’ll update more as I get the information :-)

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Disqus Gives Spammers A DoFollow Thanksgiving Feast

SIERRA MADRE, CA - MAY 29:  Seventieth anniver...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I am a big fan of the Disqus commenting system, I’ve found it to be a great addition to my blog as well as a wonderful personal tool to use on other’s blogs.  I’ve had few problems and with commenting syncing now in place on the WordPress plug-in, I’ve had very few change requests until now.  There has been a dramatic increase in human generated spam over the past week or two and if I was a spammer I would jump on this too, because DISQUS does not use nofollow.  It’s not even an option that I can find!

Let me give you an example, here’s a post I did on Disqus SEO that has been targeted for spamming (seems fitting, yes?)   The comments were on point enough that I replied before i figured out what was going on.  I replied by e-mail and the formatting is still screwed upon line wraps when you do that (My other major gripe with Disqus).

If you take a look at the page source and search for iphone and discount office supplies you’ll see some nice free dofollow links headed off to the spammer’s sites.  This makes me unhappy – unhappy customers uninstall.  Given the nature of SEO, where an outgoing link from your blog counts as a vote, Disqus should have ZERO dofollow links out of my blog’s comments unless I say otherwise!

If this isn’t corrected shortly then look I’ll be installing this Disqus Hack to handle it, and if it’s not upgraded soon i guess I’ll take a look at intense debate and see if they do a better job.

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The Reports of KillerStartups Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

In my very own “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment last week I published an article “KillerStartups Killed?” and used various analytic services to show KillerStartups current status versus competitors like Crunchbase.  Obviously, the title implies that KillerStartups had been surpassed and the Google Trends data seemed to back up the assumption.  The article was then picked up by Cyndy Aleo-Carreira @ The Industry Standard, shared by Lois Gray, Robert Scoble, and finally got the attention of KillerStartups’ co-founder Gonzalo Arzuaga.  Gonzalo pointed me to this useful nugget showing direct traffic measurement and KillerStartups retaining it’s title as the king of everything startup.

Quantcast graph of daily vistiors for Killerstartups and Crunchbase

Quantcast graph of daily vistiors for Killerstartups and Crunchbase

I botched the article because I wasn’t aware of Quantcast, so to verify that the service was legit I popped it into a friendfeed search and came up with a great article on the Inquisitr giving a brief rundown of web metric services.  The thread in friendfeed started off with a comment from the knowledgeable Charlie Anzman of SEO and Tech Daily:

Quantcast is the only one on the list with code embedded in the site making it positively the most accurate. 

Charlie was kind enough to let me pick his brain on the subject a little more by e-mail:

While it appears that Google Ad Planner is not (yet?) the ‘Comscore killer’ that so many predicted, my personal preference would be to use a service that has definitive metrics.  Most, if not all, of the major web measurement services buy surfing habits from ISP’s as well as major sites that use tracking cookies.  These numbers can be seriously skewed.  I have a tendency to create my own sets using analytics from individual websites and blogs that I have access to.  The reason I continue to mention Quantcast is because their numbers are definitive as they are the only one that require tracking code directly on your website as well as verification.

I find this all to be very interesting and I’ve learned a lot from my mistake.  I still felt that I needed to dig into this a little more to find out what happened to KillerStartups’ traffic.  Pepe Amorin, VP Marketing for KillerStartups was kind enough to answer a few questions for me:

- All the stats services show a drop in June and the services with more current data show a large climb, what caused the slump and how did you climb so quickly out of it?

During June we had most of our URLs changed in order to make them friendlier for our users and search engines. That slowed the traffic for a bit, and we knew it would happen. We’re constantly improving our site in all aspects, and SEO is one of them. So every time we do one of these changes, it’s like going to the Doctor for us. It might hurt a little, but we know everything will be better and these slumps are the preface of great improvements.

- There have been some questions raised about the validity of even Quancast’s direct traffic statistics, have you noticed any discrepancies?

Quantcast is the source we prefer for traffic statistics. Let me tell you why. The way Quantcast works is that the website owner or webmaster pastes a code in every page of the website. This is a script that sends information to Quantcast every time someone visits your website. Basically, it works just the same way as Google Analytics, only the results are public. The only flaw I can find in Quantcast is that it requires the website owner to paste the script on all pages, but if they do (most people do, and I recommend everyone to do it), it’s as accurate as it gets.

- How has the Digg ban affected your traffic and have you ever gotten a good explanation for it happening?

Frankly, I don’t know why Digg has banned our URL from being submitted. We sent a few emails to them, but their customer service is far from being their best feature. Anyways, they’ve banned our URL shortly after we started back in 2007, and after the second email they didn’t reply, we gave up. Since we were never allowed to be submitted to Digg, we don’t have any numbers to compare with and see how it affects us. We’d probably have more traffic, since many of our stories are very “Diggable”. But we get a lot of traffic from several other social bookmarking tools such as Delicious, Reddit and StumbleUpon. We’re more than happy with the 50,000 visits we’re currently getting every day.

Let me again offer my apology to the team at KillerStartups, thank you for your understanding and your time. I would also like to apologize to everyone that reshared this and all my readers, the article was poorly researched due to my ignorance and it turned out the premise I was putting forward was incorrect and I hope this post will help clear up any misconceptions I created.

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